PRESS BULLETIN No. 65.
florida Agricultural Experiment Station.
RAPE FOR DAIRY COWS.
BY JOHN M. SCOTT.
The dairyman who has had experience in feeding dairy cows knows
that there is nothing quite so good as fresh pasture grass to produce a
heavy flow of milk, and at the same time to make the best quality of
butter. But grass is not available all the year. Hence, he must pro-
vide a suitable substitute, or the profits from his herd will be reduced.
In providing a suitable substitute for grass, a number of things have to
be considered. First, will the feed substituted produce the desired
effect? That is, if you are feeding dairy cows, will the substitute for
grass produce a heavy flow of milk? Second, what will be the effect on
the animal? Third, will the returns be greater than the cost, or not?
HOW TO FEED RAPE.
Rape may be pastured, or used as a soiling crop. If pastured,
some care must be exercised at first, until the cows become accustomed
to it. When cattle are first allowed to pasture on rape, there is danger
of bloating; but this can be easily avoided by first feeding the cows a
little hay or grain, just before turning them on the rape. In other
words, do not turn the cows on the rape to pasture when they are hun-
gry. When first turned on pasture, let them graze for only a few
minutes the first day-say ten or fifteen minutes; the second day allow
them a few minutes longer, and so on until the cows become ac-
customed to rape.
Another difficulty found in pasturing cows on rape is that it may
cause a disagreeable taint in the milk. This may be overcome by using
a little care and judgment in feeding. If the cows are allowed to pas-
ture on the rape, only before and after milking, for about an hour, and
at no other time, very little, if any, difficulty will be found.
August 20, 1907.
AMOUNT PRODUCED PER ACRE.
Rape is a crop well suited to Florida conditions, and is excellent
for feeding dairy cows, as it will produce many tons of good nutritious
feed per acre, at a time of the year when such feeds are scarce. The
experience of this Station in growing rape has shown a yield of 27,200
pounds per acre. This result is only based, it is true, on one year's
crop. Many of the northern states report yields of from 30 to 50 tons of
green forage per acre. No doubt there is plenty of ground in Florida
capable of equally good returns.
The Dwarf Essex variety seems to be best suited to Florida condi-
tions. Sow the seed any time in September or October, in drills twenty-
four to thirty inches apart, applying a liberal application of fertilizer, and
giving about two cultivations to keep down the grass and weeds.
Seed may be obtained from any good seed house.
For further information regarding preparation of the soil, and plant-
ing, see former issue of this paper.
State papers please copy.